The Leafs have started the season 2-0-0 beating the Canadiens on opening night (2-0) and the Ottawa Senators (6-5) in a squeaker. Calgary, on the other, hand has started the season (0-2-0) losing both of their games.
Calgary also faces Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night and could conceivably come into the Big Smoke three games down. Calgary could be looking for a much needed win.
The Habs have a few new critical injuries. Mike Cammalleri is out 10-14 days with a leg laceration from a skate and Jaroslav Spacek is out with an upper body injury. With Cammalleri out and Calgary anxious for their first win the Flames might be able keep their intensity up for a full 60 minutes.
Calgary's first two games were losing efforts; at home against Pittsburgh (3-5) and on-the-road in St. Louis (5-2).
The Flames had two great starts but collapsed entirely in the second period of each game. The Flames have been outscored 7-1 in the second period and out-shot in those two games 68-33.
Coach Brent Sutter lamented after the loss to St. Louis about the play of his team during the second period: "The reality of this team is we have two stars and we have to play within our ability...when we play a lunch-bucket type game and keep the game simple and play it the right way, we do it well and play an effective game. We have guys right now who feel it is skill, skill, skill and we have to get into those tough battles... finish checks along the boards." (Quote on FlamesTV)
Calgary is a rough and tumble battling team but that style of play might prove to be futile against the Leafs. The Leafs so far this year are very successful using the rush. Through the first two games they have not over-played the grind and cycle with a big fore-check.
That is a bit odd when you consider a Brian Burke forward is defined as big and strong, able to win the battles in the corner and a great fore-checker.
The best chances have come from using their incredible speed on all lines and powering towards the net. In the past few games even the fourth line scored on the rush with Lombardi at center scoring a short-handed goal in the first game.
The Leafs have been very successful at capitalizing on turnovers in the middle. Unfortunately for Brent Sutter and the Flames they have been giving a lot of turnovers in the middle and allowing a lot of shots on goal.
Lets hope that the Leafs days off didn't add any rust to the skates and they are able to outplay and outscore the Flames on Saturday night.